New Mexico is expanding its Medicaid program to cover the costs of using methadone to treat people addicted to heroin and painkillers such as oxycodone and morphine.
A Human Services Department official says the change in policy should help in fighting a drug addiction epidemic. New Mexico has the nation's highest death rate from drug overdoses.
The Drug Policy Alliance said Monday that New Mexico joins about 30 other states in reimbursing outpatient methadone treatment.
Department spokesman Matt Kennicott says Medicaid already covers the prescription drug Suboxone to treat opiate addicts and it makes medical sense to have methadone available as another form of treatment.
Medicaid provides health care to low-income New Mexicans and covers about a fourth of the state's population.